Former Vio-lence Guitarist Bobby Gustafson Says Rising Costs Caused Him to Leave the Band
Last October, fans of Bay Area thrashers Vio-lence were shocked to learn that guitarist Bobby Gustafson was suddenly parting ways with the band. At the time, he didn’t give a reason for leaving, instead opting to let the band control the narrative with a statement saying “logistical difficulties” contributed to the decision.
As it turns out, that’s pretty much exactly why Gustafson walked away from the band. During a recent interview with the “Metal Mayhem ROC” podcast, the ex-Overkill guitarist said his time with Vio-lence came to an end after taking a hard look at the financial difficulties surrounding touring in recent years.
“Yeah, [the cross-country commute] was hard. And with the economy, the way it was, everything started to get more expensive. I mean, the flights had doubled since I first started going out there in 2020. And to go back and forth, it was a strain on me, but it was a strain on the band as well, to try and keep themselves going. You can’t be selfish and be the only one they’re wasting money on like that. But they [originally] wanted somebody with a name [to be in their band], and they asked me to do it, and I was, like, ‘Yeah. This’ll be great.’ So it just got to be where it’s so expensive, and it’s affecting every band, basically. Between diesel for the bus, hotel rooms, flying to Europe. I’m hearing now that they’re taking a lot in Europe — they’re taking money from your t-shirts.; they are taxing those bands that leave Europe to try and come here to play. Everyone’s got their hands in your pockets. It’s so hard to make anything… It’s not cost effective anymore. It’s, like, are you doing it [just to be] doing it, or are you doing it to make a living? ‘Cause you still have bills to pay at home, so you’ve gotta make something. And, yeah, the worst part of it is really the gas and those buses, and everything over there is diesel, and that just went through the roof.
“So, it is what it is. There’s no hard feelings or nothing. And it’s just… move on.”
It really is a common story these days, with rising Visa costs, problems with securing transportation, and venues cutting into merch sales all causing major issues for touring bands. As costs rise, numerous bands have had to cancel their tours altogether, pulling the plug on fans looking to enjoy an evening of live music.
Sadly, unless some major shit changes, we’re going to see this sort of thing happen more frequently. After all, these people have responsibilities at home, like Gustafson said. It’s hard out there for a musician.